A Needham Department of Public Works crew was busy Monday afternoon cleaning up after a tractor trailer making a right turn from Great Plain Avenue onto Chestnut Street struck a fire hydrant, causing the pipe below the street to burst and the asphalt to cave in.
DPW foreman Jerry Sharp was directing work at the scene around 4:00 p.m. and said his crew had to strip away all the asphalt before they could begin to lay down new asphalt and make the site safe for traffic. Great Plain Avenue along the length of the Town Common was shut down to one lane into the evening.
"The road's all undermined because the water came out with such force," Sharp explained, pointing to where parts of asphalt were cracking and caving in. "You can see where it pushed up the road and left a big void underneath."
Using an excavator, workers began pulling up huge pieces of the roadway and dumping them into the back of another truck to clear out the area so repair work could be done.
Sharp said the pipe that burst was probably about 12 inches wide and serviced only the fire hydrant at the corner of Great Plain Avenue and Chestnut Street and a small drinking fountain in the nearby Town Common.
"It just feeds the hydrant and the bubbler. That was really lucky. If it was a main then we'd have a real mess," he said.
As of Monday afternoon, neither power nor water had been cut to businesses in the downtown area.
Sharp said it was not the first time the hydrant had been hit by a large truck attempting to navigate the tight corner. The hydrant was struck just a few months ago and had recently been put back into service.
"This hydrant's been hit so many times here," he said.
Sharp said that town officials, including representatives from the Needham Fire Department, will look at the area and decide whether to move the hydrant to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Sharp didn't have an estimated cost for repair work but said, "It's going to be some money."
There were no reported injuries in the incident, which occurred shortly before 3:00 p.m.
It was unknown whether the truck driver was cited for any traffic violations.